BROOKLINE, Mass. — Chris Gotterup, a 22-year-old Jersey Shore native, had a score to settle.
He had played in two professional tournaments after four years at Rutgers and one year at Oklahoma. He finished in a stunning tie for seventh at the Puerto Rico Open in March, after which he turned pro, and he missed the cut last week at the Canadian Open.
Gotterup experienced his most exhilarating golf experience of all Friday, when he made the cut at the U.S. Open, his first major championship, at The Country Club.
He shot a 3-over 73 in the opening round on Thursday after being 5-over through the first six holes. He followed that with a 1-under 69 in the second round, climaxed by a marvelous birdie on the 18th hole. He enters the weekend 2-over, just seven shots out of the lead and one shot clear of the cut line.
When he was finished and hanging out with his family, including his parents, Morten and Kate, Marc Leishman stopped over to congratulate Gotterup, who has a chance to be a rising star in the game with his talent.
“I played my ass off today,’’ Gotterup told The Post afterward. “I don’t dream much, but this would definitely be in it, if I had dreams. I thought my game would translate well from college to pro golf and I was really pissed I missed the cut last week in Canada. I felt like I gave up an opportunity to get off to a really good start, and it feels good to do something like this and do good things downs the stretch when it really mattered.’’
Gotterup was 2-over and bogeyed the 15th hole, which he four-putted for double bogey on Thursday, to fall to 3-over, which was the cutline.
He put an exclamation point on the round with a birdie on the 18th hole, hitting his tee shot in the fairway and stuffing his approach shot to within inches for a tap in.
“I felt good about today,’’ he said. “I had a bunch of stuff happen the last couple weeks not go the way I wanted and I just had a feeling today was going to be a good day. I hit 20 balls on the range and they were all pretty good. Usually, when I’m clicking and I know things are good, I don’t hit too many balls. I knew it was going to be tough, and I wanted to have as much patience.
“I obviously still have a lot to do this weekend. I don’t really care about the money, I want to play as well as I can.’’